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Joe Paterno’s 400th Victory is Just Another Day at the Office 28

Posted on November 06, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Joe Paterno and his players celebrate the coaches 400th victory.

After Penn State University rallied from a 21-0 deficit to defeat Northwestern University 35-21 on Saturday evening it seemed the only people not focused on the historical significance of the victory were Penn State head coach Joe Paterno and his wife Sue.

While the game announcers and crowd were celebrating the fact that the win was Paterno’s 400th as head coach of the Nittany Lions, to the man who has been at Penn State since 1950 and the head coach since 1966, the most important thing was that his team had rallied from a big deficit to defeat a pesky Wildcats’ team for their sixth win of the season.

When asked about the significance of the milestone victory, Paterno first wanted to talk about the comeback, Northwestern and what a good job head coach Pat Fitzgerald was doing with his team.  “I was just delighted to see us comeback. I thought the kids hung together and I was real proud of them. I think Pat [Fitzgerald] is doing a great job and I was worried sick about them.”

Finally when asked about what has motivated him for all these years, Paterno thought for a second, chuckled and then said, “Getting paid.”

It was just another reminder that unlike many coaches today who are about spin and creating an image, with Paterno what you see is what you get. And it appears the same can be said for the woman who has been by his side throughout his entire tenure as head coach. Read the rest of this entry →

Toe to Toe: Iowa Vs. Penn State in College Football’s Top 25 3

Posted on October 01, 2010 by JA Allen

Iowa vs. Penn State in Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

Hawkeye fans sense there is something not quite copacetic about the upcoming game with the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday night in Kinnick Stadium before a sellout crowd.

The truth is that being favored over the Lions just does not seem to sit well with the Iowa faithful. It makes fans a bit uneasy. Being the underdog for all these years seemed to suit the team better—giving them something to strive for.

That is not to say that Iowa fans do not appreciate how hard the Hawkeyes have worked to make into the upper echelons of college football—but as fans, we grew used to being the perennial underdogs to the Big Boys in the Big Ten.

Maybe, like the media, we always hesitate to give the Iowa football team the nod, that ultimate vote of confidence—expecting them to suffer that giant step back instead of marching forward into the winner’s circle.

Saturday’s game should prove something once and for all because Iowa has practically owned Penn State since the year 2000, losing only once to the Nittany Lions. What has made the difference on many occasions as the game came down to the wire, has been the play of the Iowa special teams.

As they are in any football game, special teams will be important in this contest,—because when the clock ticks down in the fourth quarter, it is special teams and their turnovers pro and con that can make the difference.

Read the rest of this entry →

Iowa vs. Penn State: The Best Rivalry in Big Ten College Football, Part 2 13

Posted on September 30, 2010 by JA Allen

Part 2

Iowa vs. Penn State 2002.

2002: Iowa 42, Penn State 35 (1 OT)

The Date: 9/22/2002. The Place: Beaver Stadium. The Coaches: Kirk Ferentz vs. Joe Paterno.

Once again, the Nittany Lions seemed to underestimate the Hawkeyes in the fan-friendly environs of Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions were such gregarious hosts that they spotted the lower-ranked, unanimously anointed underdog Hawkeyes three touchdowns.

As the game progressed, coach Joe Paterno suffered that sinking feeling once again. It appeared that his team had forgotten how to execute simple pass patterns, and how to run between tacklers.

Penn State turned the ball over twice in the first 22 minutes––giving the Hawkeyes two touchdowns and the Nittany Lions their worst first-quarter performance in almost a decade.

At halftime, Penn State was down, 26-7.

Then, all at once, the Nittany Lions sprung to life with a little over seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. They were down, 35-13, at that point.

Penn State stormed back, scoring 22 points to force the game into overtime.

Big Lion tailback Larry Johnson got things rolling when he nabbed a screen pass from quarterback Zack Mills, rambling 36 yards for a touchdown.

Some real heroics and gutsy play sealed the comeback for the Nittany Lions, who tied it up to the chagrin of the Iowa team and their fans.

The Hawkeyes had figured—somewhat prematurely—that they had done enough to win this game in Happy Valley.

Now, there was more to do in overtime. But the Hawkeyes did it.

Under fire, Iowa quarterback Brad Banks threw a six-yard completion to C.J. Jones to take the Hawkeyes up 42-35. This time Penn State could not answer the call, and the game ended.

Once again, the underrated Hawkeyes defeated Penn State in Beaver Stadium.

Iowa had outstanding play on the afternoon by running back Fred Russell, who amassed 142 hard-earned rushing yards, and by vaunted tight end Dallas Clark, who caught four passes for 88 yards and seemed to own the center of the field.

As Joe Paterno chased officials off the field, complaining about certain calls, the curtain fell on another heart-stopper between Penn State and Iowa.

Read the rest of this entry →

Iowa Vs. Penn State: The Best Rivalry in Big Ten College Football, Part 1 17

Posted on September 27, 2010 by JA Allen

IA QB Ricky Stanzi celebrates 24-23 victory over Penn State.

The Iowa vs. Penn State rivalry in college football has ballooned in importance, especially in recent years as Iowa continues to roll out one impressive football team after another.

Penn State has the storied football past, having cemented its place in the upper echelons of successful college football programs.

In the early years, Penn State owned Iowa, winning five of their first seven meetings.

Iowa won twice prior to 1980, in 1930 and again in 1976.

Many felt Penn State would dominate the conference when the Nittany Lions became a full-fledged member of the Big Ten in 1993. After all, Penn State had won National Championships in 1982 and again in 1986.

The Lions did win the Big Ten conference title in 1994 with a perfect 12-0 season. They won it again in 2005, going 11-1, and in 2008 when they tied for first place with Ohio State. The Nittany Lions’ only conference loss in 2008 came against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Dallas Clark of the Iowa Hawkeyes Football Team.

During the Hayden Fry years (1979-98), Iowa played Penn State six times, twice in 1983-1984 when Penn State was an Independent, and four times as Big Ten opponents. Iowa won twice, in 1983 and then again in 1996.

When Kirk Ferentz came to Iowa, the dominance by Penn State began to wane.

In fact, in the nine times the two teams have met during the Ferentz era at Iowa (1999-present), the Hawkeyes hold a decided advantage, winning seven of nine or 78 percent of the games played.

Read the rest of this entry →

John Wooden Walked Away On Top 6

Posted on October 14, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Happy 99th Birthday to John Wooden, the greatest coach of all-time.

Happy 99th Birthday to John Wooden, the greatest coach of all-time.

Today marks the 99th birthday of coaching legend John Wooden. Unlike some current coaching greats, Wooden knew when it was time to walk away. It is a legacy that others may want to consider emulating.

When Wooden announced following an emotional 75-74 victory over former assistant Denny Crum and the Louisville Cardinals in the semifinals of the 1975 NCAA Tournament that the upcoming championship game would be his last on the bench, it caught most people by surprise.

But, sure enough, after the Bruins defeated Kentucky for their 10th title in 12 years, Wooden walked away with his legacy secure.

In the ensuing 34 years, the legend of the “Wizard of Westwood” has grown in stature as no coach has come close to matching Wooden’s amazing resume of success.

Read the rest of this entry →

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